Nothin' But Sorrow
 
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Nothin' But Sorrow


Polly
(@polly)
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Oh there's rain in the valley, there's wind in the tree-ees,

go-old i-in the western sky, an' sweet flowers in the breeze.

There's  +bi-irds in the +sky-y  a-an' roses on the vine,

but there's nothin but sorrow  in this poor old heart o' mine.

There's boats down the river, you can hear the whistles blow,

Shining +pe-ebbles in the +strea-eam, where the crystal wa-aters flow.

There's sta-ars in heaven, and storms out on the brine,

but there's nothin but sorrow  in this poor old heart o' mine.

I'm +standin here on a mountain, lookin' down at all below,

the fields and the roads  in the early evening glow.

There's a far away song, feather clouds and sunshine,

but there's nothin but sorrow  in this poor old heart o' mine.

There's shadows on the mountain, as wildflowers close their eyes,

smoke rising in the distance, as the golden sunlight dies.

There's mist on the valley, sweet music in the wind,

but there's nothin but sorrow  in this poor old heart o' mine.

This topic was modified 4 years ago 3 times by Polly

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Gary E. Andrews
(@gary-e-andrews)
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Wow! Great poetic Lyric. I couldn't understand it as you sang it but it reads splendidly. Loads of visuals to command a reader's imagination to do just that, imagine, visualize, 'be in' the world you're painting.
Listen to the playback and see if you're fully confident you're enunciating well. As an experiment, I suggest you try over-enunciating, as if it is of strategic importance that the listener get every word the first time they hear it; because it is. You can tone down the enunciation when you listen to that playback and see which words get delivered easily and which don't. Some need a little more focus. As pitch falls at the end of Lines we often drop volume too, a mistake as that last word, the Rhyme-Word, is of strategic importance to make sense of the Line, and make it 'memorable' for the listener.
Your Introductory Movement is about 30 seconds long. Unless an Intro. is doing something extraordinary it should be kept short, just long enough to serve that function, to 'introduce' the Song, to exert 'Hook Factor' on the listeners' attention, and then it should get on with the Verse. The 'rule', and 'rules are tools' (Ande Rasmussen, www.justplainfolks.org ) is: "Don't bore us! Get to the Chorus!" In live play the long Introductory Movement is fine. Folks are willing to wait. They enjoy what you're doing. For radio 'short' is key. Short Songs leave more time for commercial advertising that pays the bills. Giving them what they want gets you what you want; exposure, perhaps driving ticket buyers to your shows, where you can sell them downloads, CD's, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and whatever the venue is selling.
I also recommend examining 'but' as a Line opener. Sometimes you can eliminate that word and the Line delivers pretty much the same. Listeners don't need it to get the meaning, and the main meaning usually isn't in the 'But' proviso, that all the Singer-Character has told so far is so, 'however...'. They get it. Without the 'But', also 'And', 'cause'/'because', the singer has more space for the more meaningful words that follow, a chance to breathe. I don't think the listener misses it. Try it and see what you think. 
This is 'Olde Folk Style', where the Chorus is a Refrain, a single Line ending each Verse, a tried and true and honored Structure. The Refrain-Type Chorus works instead of the Stanza-Type Chorus comprised of several Lines, like a Verse.
Your third Stanza has a slight variation in Melody, making it serve the function of a Bridge, renewing listener interest, breaking the Structural Repetition with Change. It is 'enough' of a Change to serve that function, ending logically with the Chorus Refrain. Then the listener's ear welcomes back the familiar pattern of Verses I and II.
You're building your repertoire Polly. 

Despite 1,000's of years of Songwriting humans have not exhausted the possibilities. There will always be another Song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com


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Polly
(@polly)
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Thank you so much @gary-e-andrews! Your suggestions are so helpful. I have been trying so hard to pronounce everything clearly, I will have to try much harder. 

And thank you for the encouragement!

And I am very glad you think the 3rd verse functions as a bridge, because that is what I intended. And yes, I often use old time patterns, as in this where the refrain ends every verse but there is no chorus.

In other songs, I often use old time AB patterns.

 

 

This post was modified 4 years ago by Polly

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Gavin
(@gavin)
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Nice, Polly. As Gary says, the lyric is very poetic. I would have liked to know the reason for the singer's sorrow, however. As it stands, it just says, "I feel sad." A line somewhere like, "Since you went away," or whatever the reason, might make it more relatable. Not saying it needs it, just a suggestion. I agree with Gary about the intro being a bit too long. It could be cut in half. Also, I think it could be a little faster - not much, just a little, and that might just be me. Probably is 🙂

You're having some trouble with the plosives there. If you don't use a pop guard, just singing slightly across the mc rather than directly into it might help.

Very nice plaintive melody that fits the lyrics well.

I may or may not be an enigma
http://mysteriousbeings.com


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Polly
(@polly)
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Thanks for the comments @gavin! I know it seems strange not to explain the reason for feeling sad, but it was intentional. The theme of the song is simply the inner world being out of synch with the outer world. So I don't want to spell out any specific reason, because it could be anything.

It also might be related to living in a crisis where we aren't seeing bombs falling, or floods, etc. It all looks normal, except for the roads being quiet.

Yes, I can see that the intro is too long. I have been trying to add more instrumentals to my songs but maybe I went too far, since listeners could lose patience at the beginning. I know I lose patience when an intro goes on and on. I could shorten it, but do you think I could keep it where it re-occurs before the final verse? I kind of like it. 

I've been having a lot of trouble with those plosives. I get very close to the mic, trying to increase the volume, because the mic is probably not as good as what I need. I will try your suggestion, not singing directly into it.

 

 

 

 


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JAPOV
(@japov)
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I'm beginning to sense a little bluegrass influence 🙂

https://www.soundclick.com/artist/default.cfm?bandid=1449856


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Polly
(@polly)
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@japov

No, not a little, A LOT! I play bluegrass banjo and I love bluegrass jam sessions. Carter Family, Bill Monroe, Peter Rowan, etc. Probably the main influence on me is bluegrass. ? 


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JAPOV
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https://www.soundclick.com/artist/default.cfm?bandid=1449856


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Polly
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Yes, I learned that one @japov. ? 


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Jenny Stokes
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Wow! I love this lyric. It's very poetic. If I had to pick one thing to improve upon it would be the lyric melody. Your words are so lovely; you need a melody that does them justice. I love a good meandering folk melody as much as the next gal, but I guess I just feel it's a little too meandering and not quite decisive enough. Perhaps the guitar is getting in the way there. I often find a good way to tighten up a melody is to sing it acapella until I get the thing locked in my mind. Singing without the guitar means that you can focus yourself entirely on developing the melody. It might mean that the guitar needs some adjustments to fit with the changes to the melody, but surely worth the effort given your wonderful words.
Just beautiful, Polly.

Jen

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Polly
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Posted by: @jenny-stokes

Wow! I love this lyric. It's very poetic. If I had to pick one thing to improve upon it would be the lyric melody. Your words are so lovely; you need a melody that does them justice. I love a good meandering folk melody as much as the next gal, but I guess I just feel it's a little too meandering and not quite decisive enough. Perhaps the guitar is getting in the way there. I often find a good way to tighten up a melody is to sing it acapella until I get the thing locked in my mind. Singing without the guitar means that you can focus yourself entirely on developing the melody. It might mean that the guitar needs some adjustments to fit with the changes to the melody, but surely worth the effort given your wonderful words.
Just beautiful, Polly.

Jen

Thanks Jen! I got a lot of criticism about the melody for this song. No one else likes it either, or the guitar playing. One problem, I think, is that I recorded it before I had learned the guitar parts well enough, so the timing is uneven. But I also have been told by others that they don't like the melody, even if they do like the lyrics. I will have to think about why that is.


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Jenny Stokes
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The rule of thumb I always use is to ask myself, "what is the weakest part of this song?" I then focus on that. 

Of course, sometimes I just write a throw-away, mind dump sort of song to get something off my chest, out of my head, and probably into the bin. For those songs, I wouldn't bother taking the time. But for THIS song, this beautiful song, I really hope you take the time to get all parts gorgeous. Prosody is your friend here. Take the feelings that your words evoke and write a melody that evokes those feelings.

Jen

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://evansandstokes.com
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Polly
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Posted by: @jenny-stokes

The rule of thumb I always use is to ask myself, "what is the weakest part of this song?" I then focus on that. 

Of course, sometimes I just write a throw-away, mind dump sort of song to get something off my chest, out of my head, and probably into the bin. For those songs, I wouldn't bother taking the time. But for THIS song, this beautiful song, I really hope you take the time to get all parts gorgeous. Prosody is your friend here. Take the feelings that your words evoke and write a melody that evokes those feelings.

Jen

Thanks Jen I will try. I have the same policy as you -- if there is anything in a song that bothers me, I work on that. Sometimes I leave a song alone and come back to it much later, to get perspective. There are songs I wrote in 15 minutes and liked them right away, but others I came back to over months or years before I felt they were finished. Sometimes I work relentlessly on a melody day after day.

The problem with this song is that I can't hear any problems with the melody, so there is nothing I can do right now to improve it. Maybe if I leave it alone for a couple of weeks or months, and come back to it, I will be able to hear what is wrong.

There have been many times when I thought a song was finished and I liked it, only to discover months later that I hate the music, and had to re-write it.

With this song, I was very focused on the guitar instrumentals, trying to make them interesting. Maybe I didn't focus enough on the melody. I don't know. 

But thank you for the criticism and I will try to get a distance from this song, so maybe I can hear what's wrong with it.

 

 

 


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Guy E. Trepanier
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What is the chord progression for this song?

Remarks and suggestions:

1- The intro is too long. Make it 4 bars.

2- The melody in the bridge needs more contrast.

3- The guitar playing (picking) seems complex. Try it with a simple strumming.

The message of the song is more important than the accompaniment.

4- The structure is AABA. Cut off the guitar transitions between verses.

5- Shorten the song to about 3 minutes.

_ _ _

Have fun!

 

 

K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple and Singable
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https://soundcloud.com/guyetrep : in English (my voice + ukulele)
https://soundcloud.com/guyechante : en Français (in french)
https://soundcloud.com/user-380042223 : songs with lyricists
https://www.reverbnation.com/control_room/artist/1969477/songs


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Polly
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Posted by: @guy-e-trepanier

What is the chord progression for this song?

Remarks and suggestions:

1- The intro is too long. Make it 4 bars.

2- The melody in the bridge needs more contrast.

3- The guitar playing (picking) seems complex. Try it with a simple strumming.

The message of the song is more important than the accompaniment.

4- The structure is AABA. Cut off the guitar transitions between verses.

5- Shorten the song to about 3 minutes.

_ _ _

Have fun!

 

 

Ok I'll try that, thanks!


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